Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Target CEO ousted, Alibaba IPO, South Sudan sanctions, tourists help poachers

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Alibaba files for an IPO…maybe. The Chinese internet giant’s long-awaited US offering could come any day. The anticipation is boosting the price of shares in Yahoo, which owns 24% of Alibaba, but there are still a few awkward questions worrying investors.

Extra Twitter shares hit the market. The “lockup period” following Twitter’s flotation expired yesterday, meaning that employees and early investors are now allowed to sell their shares, which amount to 87% of the company’s stock. But don’t expect a flood; Twitter’s leaders and one of its biggest investors say they aren’t planning to sell.

Italy sets sail with a massive privatization plan. Fincantieri, Italy’s state-owned shipbuilder, will apply to list in Milan, aiming to raise €12 billion ($16.65 billion) in the country’s largest privatization program since the 1990s (paywall), as part of prime minister Matteo Renzi’s plan to cut public debt.

Credit Suisse fesses up. The Swiss bank, one of a dozen that US prosecutors are investigating for allegedly helping rich Americans evade taxes, is reportedly close to agreeing to plead guilty and pay a $1.6 billion settlement.

Groupon tries to sell its turnaround story. The online discounts company will assure investors that it’s headed toward growth despite a string of recent hiccups and a plunging stock price. Analysts expect the company to post a loss, despite 23% revenue growth.

While you were sleeping

Target got rid of its boss. A massive data breach in December that led to the theft of 40 million payment card numbers finally caught up with Gregg Steinhafel, who is no longer chairman, president and CEO despite having done everything right in the debacle’s aftermath. He was also blamed for botching the company’s expansion into Canada.

Pfizer suggested it’s open to going hostile on AstraZeneca. The US drug maker’s CFO said “any option you could think of would be an option,” ahead of a deadline on May 26, when British takeover law requires Pfizer to either make a bid or walk away.

Markit decided to list in the US. The financial information firm, which provides data to banks, exchanges and funds, will aim to raise $2 billion (paywall) when it floats later this spring. That would make Markit worth a good deal more than the $5 billion valuation it had last year.

Ford halted Venezuela production. The auto maker said there is not enough foreign currency to import the required parts to continue manufacturing vehicles. Last week, inflation in Venezuela hit 59%.

China inched closer to a $7 trillion asset sale. As president Xi Jinping plans to open up state-owned enterprises to more competition, the local governments that own them are considering selling off some of their assets to reduce their own huge debt burdens, Bloomberg reports.

The US decided to sanction both sides in South Sudan. Amid fears that ethnic conflicts in the country may turn into genocide, the US will sanction members of government and rebel leaders, banning them from US travel and freezing their bank accounts., Reuters reports.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on the technology that will put basic search out of business. “In the old days, if you wanted to do something—navigate to the restaurant where you’ve got a dinner reservation—you might open a web browser and search for its address. But in the post-search world of context—in which our devices know so much about us that they can guess our intentions—your phone is already displaying a route to that restaurant, as well as traffic conditions, and how long it will take you to get there, the moment you pull your phone out of your pocket.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US needs an ambassador to the North Pole. It would send a message about how seriously the US is taking development of the Arctic.

It’s no big deal if China’s GDP surpasses America’s. Given the population imbalance, the US is still way ahead on a per capita basis.

The world will have its first dollar trillionaire within 25 years. Wealth creation in emerging markets is one of the factors making the rich richer (paywall).

Don’t call your new cryptocurrency “____coin.” The successor to bitcoin will be a new thing altogether.

If Europe wants to punish Russia, it should look to its own tax havens. The problem is that European countries love having that Russian cash.

Surprising discoveries

Saying “so” damages your credibility. It alerts your audience that you’re about to change course.

Tourists are leading poachers to endangered animals. Don’t share geotagged photos on social media when you go on safari.

Your LinkedIn profile can now help you find a date, if you link it up with a new app called, er, LinkedUp.

Cops are using social media to help solve crimes. Not just Twitter and Facebook but Pinterest and YouTube, too.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, non-geotagged holiday snaps, and 140-character crime clues to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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